home > Pastor’s Desk > 2020 > May > THE TRAGEDY OF KING HEZEKIAH’S LAST FIFTEEN YEARS

THE TRAGEDY OF KING HEZEKIAH’S LAST FIFTEEN YEARS

The world empire of Assyria had recently conquered Israel to the north of Judah. Many Israelites had been slaughtered and many more had been deported into exile to Assyria. Now the Assyrians were making the intentions known to the Kingdom of Judah, where Hezekiah, the descendent of King David now reigned. The mighty Assyrian Emperor sent his emissary to Jerusalem to invite them to surrender too before being slaughtered if they refused—they even put it in writing!

2Kings 19:1 ¶ As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD.

The LORD heard King Hezekiah’s prayer and sent the Prophet Isaiah to him.

2Kings 19:32 ¶ “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it.

 

ISAIAH’S PROPHETIC WORD DRAMATICALLY FULFILLED!

2Kings 19:35 ¶ And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.

King Hezekiah’s had just experienced one of the most miraculous acts of deliverance in Israel’s history! To top it off, when Emperor Sennacherib returned he suffered a humiliating death.

Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
Second Kings 19:36-37 

How did King Hezekiah respond after experiencing such a dramatic answer to his prayers and witnessing an extraordinary act of miraculous deliverance? We can only surmise. But if history is anything to go by, then Hezekiah may have responded over time in the way that most such recipients have responded. History almost universally reveals that a person’s spiritual state is inversely proportional to their level of material success and popular acclaim. I cite two examples who immediately support my point: King Solomon, and, Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps it was God’s grace then that Lord announced to Hezekiah that he was about to die soon.

2Kings 20:1 ¶ In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” 

What happened next is one of the most powerful examples of what worship truly is. We see positive examples of a worshipful response to God’s voice in such godly people as Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38

But Hezekiah’s response stands as a biblical warning to all those who seek to be true worshipers of God. His response indicates that there was a growing amount of undetected arrogance in his heart. We some of this same kind of arrogance in Samson who had also become used to experiencing God’s deliverance of him. In his arrogance he ignored God’s Law and pursued the satisfaction of his sensual desires. When he had all but abandoned God and his pledge of obedience to Him, he arrogantly continued to assume that God would continue to deliver him from his enemies. 

And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
Judges 16:20  

The Lord heard King Hezekiah’s prayer and once again sent the beloved prophet Isaiah to him. “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD” (2Kings 20:5).

2Kings 20:6 and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.”

After the Lord answered King Hezekiah’s prayer, Hezekiah and Judah entered into a time of blessing and peace. But, Ezra tells us in the parallel account in Second Chronicles, that the previously undetected pride in Hezekiah’s heart went unchecked after the Lord answered his prayer to be healed and have his life extended.

But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem.
Second Chronicles 32:25 

And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. -Second Chronicles 32:31¶ And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.
Second Chronicles 32:27-31

 

NOT EVEN REPENTANCE UNDOES CONSEQUENCES

Repentance leads to forgiveness but it rarely undoes the resultant consequences of a person’s sin. The sins of Hezekiah’s last fifteen years had a disastrous impact on Judah. The tragic depths of his spiritual decline are seen in his boastful hospitality toward the Babylonian emissaries who visited him on behalf of their king to supposedly wish him a speedy recovery.  Rather than see the obvious threat this made to national security, King Hezekiah—in almost ‘Samsonesque’ arrogance—actually showed them the national and royal treasures, and where they could be found!   

2Kings 20:13 And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

The damage that the final 15 years of King Hezekiah’s life and reign did to the destiny of Judah was staggering!

Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.” ¶ Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
Second Kings 20:14-18

Bizarrely, when the prophet Isaiah revealed to King Hezekiah the damage that would unfold because of the King’s foolishness, Hezekiah responded, ““The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”” His complete lack of concern for his unholy legacy and the destiny of his descendants is bewildering. When a child of God is indifferent to the consequences of their choices on successive generations, or when their lack of action in taking steps to prevent evil in society, it is a pathetic sight. (This is why we in Tasmania need every believer to care about the future of our State and why we need to take the necessary steps to withstand evil in our society —especially when it is smuggled into culture through the halls of Parliament!)

2Kings 20:19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

THE DAMAGE FROM KING HEZEKIAH’S LAST 15 YEARS

 

But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel. “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols … ¶ Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
Second Kings 21:9, 11, 16

“Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols … He walked in all the way in which his father walked and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them.
Second Kings 21:11, 21

And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon. The king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the chief men of the land he took into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valor, 7,000, and the craftsmen and the metal workers, 1,000, all of them strong and fit for war. And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah. For because of the anger of the LORD it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence. ¶ And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Second Kings 24:15-17, 20

 

WHAT TASMANIAN CHRISTIANS SHOULD LEARN FROM THE LAST 15 YEARS OF HEZEKIAH

1. We Are More Inclined To Pray & Seek God When We Have a Fight On Our Hands.

2. Times of ‘Blessing & Peace’ Are Often More Dangerous Than Times of Trial.

3. ’Batons’ Should Be Passed, Not Dropped, Which Requires Intention & Training Of The Next Generation.

 

 

Your pastor,

Andrew

29 Comments

  1. Richard BRUNNING

    Thank’s Andrew, Bless you in God’s wider sense of the word. Richard B.

    Reply
    • legana

      Thank you Richard!
      -Andrew C.

      Reply
    • Samuel

      God bless you.this is great

      Reply
    • Mimi Johnson

      This was so edifying to me
      More depths in the Word sir.

      Reply
      • Nehemiah Wanyama

        Thanks alot 🙏

        Reply
      • Vahnu

        Thanks God bless you more and more.

        Reply
        • AZT

          How sure are we that the prayers was what actually added 15yrs into his life.
          Did Hezekiah die immediately after the 15yrs

          Reply
          • Ron

            another side to this is sometimes the Lord has to expand the curtains in life. Perhaps Hezekiah was going to live 15 years anyway. I’ve seen people live 10 or 20 years beyond the original diagnosis

      • Genesis

        Thanks pastor Andrew for rightely dividing the word of truth and clear references in scriptures

        Reply
    • Antony Somba

      Powerful insights

      Reply
  2. John Tessy

    Thanks ANDREW, MORE WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING.

    Reply
  3. ODABOR REBECCA

    Thanks for the eye opener Sir, what a lifetime lesson learnt from Hezekiah’s 15 years of mistakes!

    Reply
    • kendal Toppar

      GOD BLESS YOU FOR THIS.🙏

      Reply
      • legana

        Thank you Kendal!

        Reply
        • Jennifer Somuah

          Kendal shared the link,and it has blessed my life👏👏God bless You

          Reply
  4. Diane Sims

    Such a timely word for America. Thank you

    Reply
  5. Samuel Ogbobula

    Thanks so much for this insightful exposition.

    Reply
  6. Aurora Dela Cruz

    Thank you so much for a very clear explanation . So touched and inspired by God’s word. Bless you

    Reply
  7. Michael Oti Wiredu

    God bless you Pastor. You are blessed.

    Reply
    • Kevwe

      Hmm. This scripture is scary.
      The man I want to marry said God asked him not to marry me, that there will be a looming divorce in 10 years.
      Does God hate me? Or intend that I stay married only 10 years?.
      Is there a way out?

      Reply
  8. Moradeyo ojo ebenezer

    Thanks for the words of knowledge, more grace from holy Spirit.

    Reply
  9. Ben Adewale

    Two major lessons;
    1- Isaiah 57:1
    When God says it’s time, learn to respect that call.

    2- Showing off your accomplishment only gets you self appraisal but is it with God’s approval?

    Reply
  10. Henry Akinniyi

    This is very powerful.
    God bless you sir

    Reply
  11. Gabriel McSunny Okoye

    Where God is, our lives are like a movie that somebody has seen from the very beginning to the end. Our future is in His past.
    So we should learn to always respect God’s decision at all times, knowing that He sees the end from the very beginning.
    Moses made similar . mistake of not allowing God’s decision to hold, when God asked him to step aside, so that He might wipe out the incurably rebellious then generation of the Israelites, so that He would raise another through him -Moses, and he wouldn’t. And it later cost him not entering the Promised Land. Still, the whole of that generation didn’t enter it.
    Thank you for the exposition sir

    Reply
  12. Hildah

    This was really helpful thanks.

    Reply
  13. Bishop Greg Stevenson

    I have been powerfully blessed with the favor of God’s presence even to the appearing of Jesus Christ on several occasions yet I was not obedient the heavenly visitation that warned me to change the service that would cause me to have an unqualified doctor adjust my back. I knew the dream was from the Lord but I didn’t take the time and resources to solve the dream and casually went to an appointment Monday morning to an osteopath in Nice, France and had my thoracic spine injured at T7 & T8 which almost paralyzed me. The Lord has been using this injury as a thorn in my flesh to keep me from being conceited about the revelations He had given me about the soon coming of for the Church on Rosh Hashanah. I said I would trust Him to take care of my back and I did for 8 months but when I had opportunity I went to a new Chiropractor and it was an affront to God. I repented but will still pay the consequences and He will take me soon and I will not be able to go on the Rapture. I have been in ministry for almost 42 years. The word of the Lord was good and I will soon be call home. I will not make the same mistake of Hezekiah. Excellent commentary. Be blessed of the Lord !!

    Reply
  14. Gary

    So if Hezekiah did die without heirs to the throne his mother would probably be queen ( like Athaliah) , He disrupted Gods perfect will and so God instead gave His permissive will

    Reply
  15. Craig

    Well spoken and you have an excellent grasp of the parallel’s to our time. God grant us to humbly walk with Him. To humble ourselves and seek Him, especially in the good times, that we may reap the consequences of that kind of life in the bad times.
    Your brother-in-Christ in USA.

    Reply
  16. philomena inyang

    Thanks so much for this explanation. I have learnt a lot from this. We need to apply to the govt of today.

    Reply

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THE PRODIGAL FATHER

 Does anyone know what the word prodigal means? Perhaps most people assume that it means: “wanderer”, or “rebel”, or perhaps even “backslider” or that it only applies to sons. This seems to be based on the story that Jesus told in Luke 15 to which most Bible Publishers assign the division title – The Parable of the Prodigal Son. But the word prodigal does not occur in this parable. Interestingly, there are three lead characters in this shocking and famous parable: the father and his two sons. One of these was genuinely ‘prodigal’, and, as Tim Keller points out, it was neither son! To appreciate what Keller means we might need to take another look at what the word prodigal actually means. It comes from the verb prodigious which means remarkably great in extent, size, or degree (New Oxford American Dictionary). It is a word often used to describe an author who regularly writes books – John Grisham is a prodigious author. A prodigal person is therefore, prolific, extravagant, excessive, and, lavish. Keller points out that even though most people ascribe this to the wayward son in the parable, it is more appropriately a designation for the lead character in the story, the father!

SUPER SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIANS

Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.

MAKING CHURCH A WELCOMING HOME

For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.

LOVE IN ACTION

Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING

I like to think I have a pretty good memory.  I like to think I’m organised.  Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.

TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

“You were lying in your bed, you were feeling kind of sleepy.
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet? Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on the wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum, your skin is getting clammy.
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right into your jammies”!

These are lyrics from a song on the very first Veggie Tales video every made. The title of the song?  “God is bigger than the Boogie Man”. Junior Asparagus was lying in bed frightened, and Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appeared to tell him that he doesn’t have to be scared of the imaginary monsters because, “God is the bigger.” My childhood night-time fears weren’t so much about big and hairy monsters, aka boogie men, or Godzilla in the hall. My fears were house fires – our home burning down, and “burglars” or “robbers”. But I certainly identify with lying in bed, my heart beating like a drum, my skin getting clammy, my imagination in overdrive.

CLOSING THE DEAL

In 1871, the American evangelist, Dwight (“DL”) Moody was preaching to huge crowds each night in Chicago. At the end of each message he would give an appeal for people to either respond immediately to the gospel message he had just presented, or at least go home and consider it. But on Sunday October 8th, 1871, a huge fire broke out in Chicago. It burned through the city for days and became known as The Great Chicago Fire. Around 10,000 people were homeless as a result, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Moody was heart-broken when he realised that many of the people who had died were the people who had attended that Sunday night meeting where he had urged them to consider accepting Christ. His deep grief over this tragedy led him to make a vow that he would never again merely urge people to simply consider accepting Christ. From now on, he vowed, he would plead with all those he preached to – to immediately turn away from their sins and turn to the Saviour. DL Moody committed his life and ministry as an evangelist to be someone who would always strive to close the deal because he was now aware—more than ever—that people’s eternal destinies were in jeopardy! 

BUILDING A MOODY CHURCH

The three things that make the Christian life exciting and enthralling are the same three things that enable a believer to develop a closer relationship with God. The combination of these supernatural gifts gives the child of God an awareness that there is more, much more, to this world than we can see, touch, taste or feel. When the Christian’s faith is grounded and buttressed in God’s Word, godly prayer, and God’s house he or she flourishes. But there are forces at play that are determined to stop the believer from reaching their spiritual destiny. While we might think these enemy forces only use the fiery darts of doubt to hinder the believer’s journey to glory, there is something that they successfully use far more often: our mood. This is why, for any church to be successful, it must discover how to build moody church.

PRAYING PRAYERS

The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

WHY SOME BELIEVE

Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.